Conservation officers use animal-safe rounds to help wildlife
ANDREW LEIBENGUTH/TIMES NEWS Charles Haldeman, a deputy with the PA Wildlife Conservation Officer, uses a special round to entice the bear down from a large tree branch hanging over SR54 in Hometown. These special delayed rounds, called bird bombs, make a loud noise about 100 feet above the bear, eventually causing the bear to climb down.
Wildlife Conservation Officers (WCO) with the Pennsylvania Game Commission responded last week to a report of a bear traveling back and forth over SR54 near Lake Hauto. Passing traffic and a constant flow of stopping onlookers scared the bear into a 50-foot high tree, which was located directly over the road.
To prevent the bear from being hit by a vehicle, the officers fired special delayed rounds, called bird bombs, over the bear to intimidate the 25-30 pound cub down and back into the woods. These special rounds made a loud noise about a hundred feet above the bear, eventually enticing it to climb back down the tree.
"A few weeks ago, a slightly larger-sized bear was hit by a car near the entrance to Lake Hauto," said Rush Township Sgt. Duane Frederick. "That bear might have been its mother."
"We always use animal-safe devices when responding to these type of calls," said volunteer Charles Haldeman, deputy WCO.
"The rounds we used today didn't hurt the bear, added Doug Bergman, WCO cadet. "The special rounds only scared it down the tree, so we could prevent it from getting hurt by passing vehicles."
"Sadly, bears commonly associate people with food," said WCO Supervisor Kevin Clouser. "This results in them spending more time around residential areas. This causes dangers to the bear, to include being struck by a vehicle."
Wildlife Conservation Officers, once known as Game Wardens, dedicate their time enforcing the laws that protect our natural resources and regulate outdoor recreation.